Arsonist referred for mental evaluation

Published 10:22 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The man who allegedly set fire to at least four abandoned homes around Selma will undergo a mental evaluation, according to authorities.

Anthony Oliver, a 20-year-old Selma resident, was arrested Thursday.

Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins referred Oliver for a mental evaluation, according to District Attorney Michael Jackson.

Oliver was charged with four counts of arson, two counts of unlawful breaking and entering and one count of criminal mischief. Both the arson and breaking and entering charges are felonies.

“They had been looking for him weeks ago, not on arson, but for breaking into stuff,” Jackson said. “He kept getting away. He’s apparently real fast or something.”

Police Chief John Brock believes Oliver was found near one of the arson sites.

“I want to say he was on the side of the road near the arson and [the investigator] stopped to talk to him, and it led from there,” Brock said.

Oliver reportedly told investigators he started the fires because somebody hit him in the eye.

The Alabama State Fire Marshal is investigating the fires.

Public Information Officer Steve Holmes said the fires were intentionally set but declined to comment further on the fires.

Fire were reported at the following addresses:

* 131 Church Street, 6:21 a.m. Thursday and 6:58 a.m. Wednesday

*1426 Washington Street, Thursday at 7:24 a.m.

*912 Philpot Avenue, Wednesday at 7:17 a.m.

* 1522 Kayser Street, Wednesday at 7:35 a.m.

The case remains under investigation.